Elmo's House
Artist Residency

Batan, Aklan
Philippines

 
Palenke Totes hit the streets

Palenke Totes hit the streets

The Palenke totes project is another proliferation of the ongoing project - Elmo's Closet. Palenke Totes (palenke meaning market) are reusable bags meant for use during market runs for fruits and vegetables.

 
 
 
 
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Each tote is made from one shirt. Using the main body of the shirt, I cut off the sleeves and collar. The tails of the shirt were sewn together to form the vessel. The plan front of the shirt was stitched together as well. The three holes made from the removed sleeves and collar were hemmed; this part of the structure became the handles or straps. Beginning the project was slow going, but over time, I developed a rhythm in production. With Nancy's assistance in washing and prepping the shirts, I sewed about ten shirts a day.

 
 
 
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There is a continuing campaign in Batan (spearheaded by Batan Rural Improvement Club and the local government) currently gaining momentum to combat garbage and minimize waste in town. In response to this growing environmental awareness, I decided to dedicate some of my father's button-up shirts for this cause, with full proceeds towards clean up efforts or 'Batan beautification' initiatives.

The Palenke Totes was first sold during BRIC's 8th Anniversary Celebration last July 2019. With a retail price of P35 each, we sold all the totes! The money raised was quite nominal, and with the price, we were practically giving it away for free. The real goal was awareness and aid in the shift towards dispelling single-use plastics from the standard. This project might also inspire others to look at different ways to reuse and transform things that might have outlived its use.

It is heartening to imagine my father's shirts around town, being used to run errands, hold fruits just bought at the market, carry towels for the beach, books to read at the park, continuing on being useful.

 
 
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From which side of the door

From which side of the door